If you told me a few weeks ago that I would ever commend anything New York Governor. Andrew Cuomo said or did, I’d say you were nuts. I have used this space to voice my disgust at his disregard for the value of pre-born and newborn life with his Reproductive Health Act; and also his support of legalizing assisted suicide in New York, which would put the elderly and the disabled at risk.
But our lives in the Covid-19 crisis have become topsy-turvy, and this is one of the weirdest results for me: God help me, I look forward to Cuomo’s daily press briefings.
In recent days, he has stepped up to the plate, and is giving New Yorkers the facts with compassion and common sense, and helping us, in my opinion, to fight panic.
Today, I almost fell of my chair when he said this," No American is going to say accelerate the economy at the cost of human life. Because no American is going to say how much a human life is worth."
Now, I am not trying to discern Governor Cuomo’s sincerity or motives, or get into politics. I’m reflecting on the present moment. And I applaud his words.
Most people understand how precious human life is right now, because it’s personal.
We are worried about ourselves and even more about those we love, like our elderly parents. Gov. Cuomo passed Matilda’s Law, which puts requirements in place to protect those 70 and over from the virus. "I call it Matilda’s Law. My mother’s name is Matilda. Everybody’s mother, father, sister, friend in a vulnerable population — this is about protecting them. What you do highly, highly affects their health and wellbeing."
Cuomo has spoken strong words to the young and healthy in New York who have brazenly resisted the call for social distancing — "Young people can get it, you will get sick, you probably won't die, but you can transfer it to someone who may very well die and you can transfer it even inadvertently without knowing you're doing it" — and called their actions "insensitive" and "arrogant."
Sacrificing and taking precautions to protect the lives of others — even those we will never meet — is at the heart of the anti-abortion movement. We believe that each life has value, even in the face of poverty, disability and another person’s future plans.
Right now, we are all called to understand this.
There is hope in this terrible moment.
Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn often reminds us, as he does here, that the essence of a civilized society is that the strong protect the weak. In our current crisis, who is strong and who is weak may change swiftly. Nonetheless, we can try when we are strong to do all we can to protect the vulnerable, and trust that our fellow humans will protect us if we become the weak ones.
This is why "celebrating" and promoting abortion is so awful, because the unborn are the most powerless among us. Because they are often unseen, and yet-unknown to many, society has decided theirs are lives unworthy to be saved. And yet the vulnerable baby is at the same time a source of tremendous hope, and a reminder that human life is in itself a miracle.
I close with a quote to ponder, from Carl Sandburg:
"A baby is God's opinion that life should go on. . . . Never will a time come when the most marvelous recent invention is as marvelous as a newborn baby. The finest of our precision watches, the most super-colossal of our supercargo plants, don't compare with a newborn baby in the number and ingenuity of coils and springs, in the flow and change of chemical solutions, in timing devices and interrelated parts that are irreplaceable. A baby is very modern. Yet it is also the oldest of the ancients. A baby doesn't know he is a hoary and venerable antique — but he is. Before man learned how to make an alphabet, how to make a wheel, how to make a fire, he knew how to make a baby — with the great help of woman, and his God and Maker."
May we all continue to strive to save lives.
Maria McFadden Maffucci is the editor in chief of the Human Life Review (www.humanlifereview.com), a quarterly journal devoted to the defense of human life, founded in 1974 by her father, James P. McFadden, Associate Publisher of National Review. She is President of the Human Life Foundation, based in midtown Manhattan, which publishes the Review and supports pregnancy resource centers. Mrs. Maffucci’s articles and editorials have appeared in the Human Life Review, First Things, National Review Online, National Review, Verily. A Holy Cross graduate with a BA in Philosophy, she is married to Robert E. Maffucci, and the mother of three children. Her interests include exploring opportunities for individuals with special needs. To read more of her reports — Click Here Now.
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